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THE ETHICS OF BELIEF                 183

we might by and by attain to such a means of
verification as should rightly turn conjecture
into belief. For belief belongs to man, and to
the guidance of human affairs : no belief is real
unless it guide our actions, and those very
actions supply a test of its truth.

But, it may be replied, the acceptance of
Islam as a system is just that action which is
prompted by belief in the mission of the
Prophet, and which will serve for a test of its
truth. Is it possible to believe that a system
which has succeeded so well is really founded
upon a delusion ? Not only have individual
saints found joy and peace in believing, and
verified those spiritual experiences which are
promised to the faithful, but nations also have
been raised from savagery or barbarism to a
higher social state. Surely we are at liberty to
say that the belief has been acted upon, and
that it has been verified.

It requires, however, but little consideration
to show that what has really been verified is
not at all the supernal character of the Prophet's
mission, or the trustworthiness of his authority
in matters which we ourselves cannot test, but
only his practical wisdom in certain very
mundane things. The fact that believers have
found joy and peace in believing gives us the
right to say that the doctrine is a comfortable
doctrine, and pleasant to the soul; but it does